One of my favorite bloggers, Hilzoy, has decided to hang it up.
The main reason I started blogging, besides the fact that I thought it would be fun, was that starting sometime in 2002, I thought that my country had gone insane. It wasn’t just the insane policies, although that was part of it. It was the sheer level of invective: the way that people who held what seemed to me to be perfectly reasonable views, e.g. that invading Iraq might not be such a smart move, were routinely being described as al Qaeda sympathizers who hated America and all it stood for and wanted us all to die.
I thought: we’ve gone mad. And I have to do something — not because I thought that I personally could have any appreciable effect on this, but because it felt like what Katherine called an all hands on deck moment. I had heard about times like this in the past — the McCarthy era, for instance — though I had never expected to live through one. Nonetheless, I was. And I had to try to do something, however insignificant.
[T]hat was what I really wanted to do: to listen to people I disagreed with, to engage with them, and to try to show that it was possible to care deeply about politics without hating your opponents. Being civil doesn’t mean you’re lukewarm, and being committed to your principles doesn’t mean you have to be hateful. Being asked to write for the Washington Monthly was a further honor, and one that I never expected.
That said, it seems to me that the madness is over. There are lots of people I disagree with, and lots of things I really care about, and even some people who seem to me to have misplaced their sanity, but the country as a whole does not seem to me to be crazy any more. Also, it has been nearly five years since I started. And so it seems to me that it’s time for me to turn back into a pumpkin and twelve white mice.
I disagree strongly that the madness is over, and the blog-world will seem a little less articulate and persuasive without her. But I wish her the best, and thanks again for the brilliance first thing in the morning.
Safe travels, Hilzoy.